E-rate Modernization Brings New Opportunities in Wireless Networking

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin-flavored everything is out, football is in full swing and E-Rate buying season is here. The E-rate Program, officially known as Universal Service Funding for Schools and Libraries, was created as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The program was established in part to get schools and libraries connected with voice services and the Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made some major changes to the program that are expected to connect 10 million students a year to digital tools.

Traditionally, the E-rate program provided discounts on telecommunications and Internet access for K-12 schools and libraries based on the poverty level and urban or rural status of the populations they served. But more than half the budget went toward telephone services, email and other items, and there wasn’t much money left over for Wi-Fi after broadband requests were funded.

With the modernization of the 18-year-old program in July, E-rate will now phase out telecommunications discounts so it can focus on broadband and Wi-Fi starting in 2015.

Broadband service providers bring high-speed Internet access to schools through a number of transmission technologies including fiber and wireless. But if schools’ internal connections aren’t adequate, students won’t be able to access the high-speed Internet through their school’s wireless network.

Avaya has proven networking and wireless capabilities with Fabric Connect, WLAN 9100 and Identity Engines. These solutions can enable institutions to maximize their investments and provide high-performance Wi-Fi access to their classrooms.

Click here to learn more about schools that have deployed Avaya networking, E-rate guidelines, K-12 reference diagrams and E-rate-eligible products. More information is also available in our E-rate Resource Center.

Learn more about Avaya’s education solutions: www.avaya.com/edu